Flu jabs

Flu occurs every year and most people usually recover within a week, but for some, the disease can be dangerous and increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital or even death.

Free flu jab

Flu can affect anyone, but some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. The flu jab is free for everyone who is at increased risk including: 

  • pregnant women
  • everyone who has long-term health condition like a heart problem, bronchitis, emphysema, severe asthma, kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes
  • carers and frontline health and social care staff (whether employed in a care home, nursing home or agency) with their ID badge at their local pharmacy
  • everyone aged 65 and over
  • people in long stay residential care homes


This year, the following groups of children are being offered the flu vaccination:

  • all 2 to 3 year old children who will receive a quick and painless nasal spray rather than an injection - this is given by your practice nurse at your GP surgery
  • all children in school years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 - parents will be asked permission for their child to get the free nasal spray vaccination at school
  • children over 6 months of age who have a health condition such as a heart problem, bronchitis, emphysema, severe asthma, neurological condition or lowered immunity - if they are under 2 years old this will be given by injection
  • if you are pregnant, having the flu vaccine will protect you and your baby

About the nasal vaccine

The nasal vaccine contains a highly processed form of porcine gelatine. The gelatine helps to keep the vaccine viruses stable.

Some faith groups accept the use of gelatine in medical products - the decision is up to you. Find out more about vaccines with porcine gelatine

Where and when to get the flu jab

It’s best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn. Remember that you need a flu jab every year as the flu virus can change from year to year.

The flu jab is free for everyone who is at increased risk. To get the vaccination, speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist, or visit NHS Choices

For more information on children and flu vaccination visit NHS Choices Child Flu

Last updated: 17 October 2019